Hi, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m the Presenter Coach, and I have been working with radio presenters now for nearly 20 years, whether that be at grassroots, are at national, top of the game level.
I’ve worked with loads of presenters across that range, and the one thing that comes up all of the time, no matter whether you are at the top of your game or just starting out, is how to deal with criticism, because you know what? The minute that you put your head above the parapet, someone somewhere is going to think that it’s okay to text you at the studio, or to tweet you, or to put a Facebook comment, or something like that saying something like, “You’re a buffoon.”
And I’ve seen loads of radio presenters deal with this in loads of different ways.
Some radio presenters like to just ignore the text console in the studio, so they completely ignore it, and they let their producers give them the texts. Now, in some cases, that’s not possible because, in some cases, you don’t have a producer, so you kind of have to see the interaction coming into the studio. And it’s almost impossible to ignore it.
The other thing I hear a lot is presenters will go to their producers, or to their bosses, or people in the studio and they’ll go, this has happened, isn’t it awful? And the reaction is, oh, just ignore it! Which is really difficult, because it’s coming directly at you. It’s really hard to just ignore it.
But the one thing I would say is to try not to react with it.
I worked with one presenter who made a mistake on air, and it got misconstrued, and whipped up, and on Twitter, and it was so hard for him to not reply to those arguments and the things that people were saying about him on Twitter, which weren’t even true, but he just had to ignore it, because if he’d engaged, it would’ve just made it worse, and you can’t control the tone of voice that people are reading what you have written.
So, try not to engage with it.
However, I have heard of presenters, and I’ve worked with presenters who have called people back who texted them, and that has had varying degrees of success for them. But again, it’s not about shaming these people, so don’t put that call on air. Just maybe have a conversation with them and say, did you know that I got that? And most of the time their reaction is, oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think you’d see it.
Now, the one way that I have found that a lot of the presenters that I work with do really like, there are two ways to look at this, and both of them were pointed out to me by reading the work of Brene Brown, who is a vulnerability expert, shaming expert. Academically, she’s brilliant, and I really urge you to read her work. But there are two things that she says.
One is that, most of the time, judgement comes from a place of insecurity. In fact, it’s almost formulaic. The things that you judge people on are usually the things that you feel the most insecure about. So, I can pretty much guarantee to you that the text that’s come into the studio that says, “You’re a buffoon!” is from someone who is working really hard to not be a buffoon all the time. And you think about it now, the times that you have judged, you’re probably judging people on the things that you’re working really hard, or maybe you don’t really like about yourself.
So let’s apply some compassion, let’s apply some generosity to the way that those texts are received, and if someone is saying to you, “You’re a buffoon,” they’re probably not in a great place, whether they know that or not.
The second thing that Brene Brown drew to my attention was a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, which I think you’ll see it get passed around a lot, but it’s brilliant, so I’m going to read it to you now.
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could’ve done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who, at the best, in the end, will triumph by achievement, and at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So what he’s saying is that you have taken a risk. You have put your head about the parapet. And if anyone is going to give you criticism, it needs to be from someone, and it needs to be feedback, and it needs to be constructive, from someone that you trust who is in the arena with you, whether that be a coach, whether that be your boss in a coaching environment, or whether that be from another presenter who has asked you if they can offer you some feedback.
Criticism is something that you can allow to roll off your back if it’s coming from a place where they are not doing the work that you’re doing, and they are not sat in that arena with you.
You deserve to be taking risks and only hearing criticism from people who are taking those risks with you, like you.
And I hope, and I’ve used this tonnes of times now, that actually what it does is it makes it really simple for the presenters that I work with, because they just go, right, I don’t need to listen to that anymore. Am I satisfying my customers’ needs? Yes, I am. Are they saying mean things about me? Well, that one is, and that’s okay, because that’s the only one that is in today, and you know what, they may be in a bad place, so I’m just going to ignore it, for want of a better way of putting it.
So, I really hope that those two things really help you with how you deal with criticism, and just allow it to roll off your back, because actually, you’re taking a risk, you’re putting yourself out there, and that takes a lot of courage, so you should be proud of yourself for that in the first place.
For more tips about radio presenting, or whether you want to be a better radio presenter, head over to my webpage at thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio, and there you can download the first module of my Better Presenter course, completely free.
Hi there, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m the Presenter Coach. I’ve been working with radio presenters now for the last, well, over 15 years, really. People at the top of their game, people just starting out.
So I wanted to share some of the tips and techniques that I’ve been using with those presenters. And one of the first things that I’ve really come across a lot, especially with my clients today, is about starting.
So is it that you aren’t presenting now, but you’d really, really love to be a radio presenter? Or it might be that you’ve been presenting in music radio, for a really long time, but you’d like to make the transition into talk radio.
In both cases, the biggest tip that I can give you is start doing what it is you want to do. So, if you’ve never done radio before, make sure that you get onto the radio. Make sure that you’re broadcasting regularly. You can do this by going to a community radio stations, there’s a great little system called Upload Radio, where you can pay to put your show together and they upload it to their internet radio station. There’s a ton of internet radio stations, probably in your local area, and worse come to worse, you’ve always got podcasting, and that’s a great option.
So get broadcasting, get doing, listen, and get yourself some feedback. If you’re transitioning from something like music radio into talk radio or sports broadcasting, the same applies. Get yourself into a position where you are making sporting or talk radio, and you’re broadcasting in that way.
Because the thing you’re gonna need is content to send to program controllers to convince them that you’re trustworthy, and you’re also gonna need the opportunity to just get better at it, and you can only do that by putting in the time.
If you want some more tips and trick to help you craft the skills that you’ve got for radio presenting, then check out my online course at thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio.
Press play on the video below to watch my presenting tips to slow yourself down.
Hi there, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m The Presenter Coach. I’ve been working with radio presenters, now, for over 15 years, whether it be producing, or coaching them, to be better on air. But my biggest thing is, that you get to be the best that you can be, and you have all the tools to do that, and all the skills to do that.
Now, I was in the supermarket the other day, and one of the guys in the supermarket had seen one of my videos, and said to me, “Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate, Kate,” his name was Abs, “I need you to help me with something. “I’m on the radio. I’m on at Reform Radio, and I want to improve my pace because I speak really fast.”
Now, pace is something that comes up a lot and, in fact, three times this week, I have done this exercise that I’m going to share with you now, that will help you with improving the speed you’re talking at.
So, most of us speak very quickly, when we’re with our friends and we’re very excited, and we’re talking with our friends. And on air, that doesn’t always translate to something that’s legible. Some people drop their T’s and all the words merge together. And it’s really important that people can really understand what you say.
The one reason that listeners will turn off is if they can’t understand what’s going on, like when the phone crackles, when the call is on, and lots of pick listeners will go, “Oh, I can’t hear it; I’ll turn off.” And if you’re speaking too quick, that’s going to have a similar impact.
So, there are two things that you can do.
First of all, let the silence in
So, when you are doing your presenting, and you’re doing your links, or when you’re doing a monologue, even, if you’re on talk radio, it’s, sometimes really powerful to just let the silence in. And I’m not talking about extending the end of your sentence. I’m just talking about: Let the silence in.
It works with guests as well. If you’ll pause, they’ll fill the space. But for this, you just need to slow your words down, slightly, and let the silence in at poignant moments.
The second exercise that you can do, and you can do this at home, you can do this any time, but I urge you to really push yourself, is to…
Practice slowing down
So, let’s talk about it on a scale. Let’s say that your speed, if you’re speaking on the radio, should be about a five, so you’re speaking at a really nice pace.
When you hear the terms and conditions guy at the end of a radio advert, or even a podcast pre-roll, and that’s speaking this really quickly, that’s 10. Most of us probably speak about a 7 or an 8 when we’re with our friends, or we’re chatting away.
So, you’re aiming for a 5. But five can be a really difficult place to find. And it can feel really uncomfortable when you first start doing it, as with all things. So, what I do with my clients, is I get you to extend your vowels, and really slow down to about a 1 or a 2.
So, for example, let’s get some tips out of the book. Okay, so the sentence is: When you understand this point, a whole world of topics opens up for you. With enough research, you can become an expert on any topic.
So, then I would ask you to slow right down. So, you go: When you understand this point, a whole world of topics opens up for you. And then, I would say, “Slower.” And I think I can go slower.
It’s a really great exercise. And I work with my clients, and I just keep saying, “Slower,” until I get to the point where there’s a little giggle and I know that they’re really uncomfortable. And then, what happens is, you go back to asking them to read the sentence and it goes to normal, a good pace.
You suddenly feel more comfortable because you stretched yourself into being really uncomfortable; you’re now more comfortable speaking slightly slower. So, if you’re having trouble with pace, two things:
Add some pauses, get some space into what you’re saying; and
Practice that exercise where you are really slowing down the words, so you feel really uncomfortable, so when you go back to speaking normally, it doesn’t feel as uncomfortable to speak this pace of 5.
So, you’ve go to find your 5, and then you can move forward from there.
Well, I hope that’s been of use. I hope that’s been helpful for you. If you want more tips and techniques on how to be a better presenter, whether that be on the radio, or podcasting, or even on stage, then you can go to thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio, where you’ll find my online training course for radio presenters and can get the first module, completely for free, if you sign up.
So as a bit of background for you: I am hugely passionate about helping people to be more assertive and to tell their stories so that they can advance their business, career or just improve their life. I set up The Presenter Coach in 2016, after leaving a full time job (I burnt out). Having had experience working freelance, and running a similar business with a good friend previously, I knew I wanted to go alone. My family life required me to be able to choose what I did, and when I did it – as did my mental health!
There are 2 things that help you build your business or career:
Be good at what you do
Tell people about it
I specialise in helping people with the second part (unless you are a radio or tv presenter in which case I help you with both parts). Most people reach a point in their business growth or career where they have to stand in front of people and speak. Whether that be pitching, speaking at conferences or just getting better at interviews.
My aim with The Presenter Coach was that I wanted people to feel like they were being heard. Even today, I want people to see or hear you speak in public (on stage, on air, on screen) and think: “I want to work with you”.
The current structure of my work looks like this:
I coach a lot of 1-2-1 clients: radio & tv presenters, & business owners looking to get better at speaking online and on stage. I run training courses in public speaking, I run networking and storytelling workshops, and I have created an online radio presenter course.
How do you run Your Biz Your Way?
Analogy time: When I go climbing I like to climb without a harness. I love the freedom, the rush, the risk, and you’ll find me up as high as my strength will take me (plus a bit more – I like a challenge)
The minute I have a harness on the terror sets in. I feel restrained and that something terrible is going to happen. I won’t feel confident climbing so high, and I also have to rely on the person below to catch me if I fall.
Running my own business is just like climbing harness-free. I’m not restricted by convention (although I like to learn from it). I experiment, I learn from my mistakes, and I answer to my clients – no one else.
I ensure that I play to my strengths and passions. I value helping people, personal growth and my family. My strengths are being organised, enthusiasm, coaching, learning, creativity and constructing content. I enjoy serving clients, and constantly finding new ways to improve their experience.
What do you do differently in your work that illustrates running Your Biz Your Way? Why did you make up your mind to do it like that?
I made up my mind to ensure that my work and life were equally fulfilling. I don’t think of organising my time to show “work/life balance” I think of all of it as “life”. This means I use traditionally “work skills” in family life: my kids are constantly coached! Equally I value “life skills” in my work: if I am not feeling enjoyment or challenged from something I scrap it.
When I worked in my full time work, I found that I never had time to “sharpen my tools”. I love learning, and I find that everything I learn pumps it’s way back in to the service I provide and in turn my profit. So I now mark time in my week for learning. I read, do online courses, listen to podcasts – all in the bid that the next coaching session with my next client will be better for it.
I also have a rule: if I get asked to do something that terrifies me, I say yes.
How do you go against the grain or against the received wisdom in ways which make you happier in yourself, more productive and more abundant in your biz?
I am regularly looking for unique ways of doing things. My public speaking course is spread over 6 weekly sessions, rather than being delivered in one day. It is designed to highlight the need for rehearsal.
I used to think that to be successful I had to work every minute available, and I would sacrifice my health for it. This was a received wisdom, from watching leaders email at 11 at night, or the online business world revealing being up till the early hours of the morning. There is a time for working in this way, but over a period of time it always ends in one way: burn out. As a result I now make time for my fitness and sleep.
There is one thing I have done though, that people seem to identify as controversial:
When I was in my 20s I read an article about motherhood in different decades. The woman that had become a mother in her 40s said that “rather than get someone else to look after your kids, get someone to do the jobs that mean you have the time to be with your kids”.
Knowing that time with my family fulfils me the mos, I took heed of that article. I now employ someone who comes to my house 4 evenings a week to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, and set the house back to normal. We have quality family time as a result and I am more productive in my business.
I love climbing this business world without the harness. I love taking strategic steps, seeing if they work and then manoeuvring to be better. Finding my support network has been vital and finding one that works for me, revolutionary. Mostly, being the best mum I can be is at the centre of everything I do: giving love, being supportive and being a role model for them. This means making sure I am fulfilled and healthy is priority number 1. My biz my way is the way that I can achieve this.
Hi, Kate Cocker here and here’s the next in-depth Radio Presenter Tip “Mic Technique”.
Which Way Round Is It?
How Far Away?
How To Avoid The Dreaded Pop!
Please feel free to like, comment or ask questions AND please share this post with someone you know who is in radio, runs a great podcast or broadcasts online. To check out Module 1 of my new “Better Radio Presenter” Course 100% free of charge,visit http://ThePresenterCoach.co.uk/radio
Click the play button to watch the video below.
Hi, my name’s Kate, I’m The Presenter Coach. And I just wanted to do a little bit with you about how to get some good mic technique going.
So here’s the microphone, hi microphone, hi. And I’m always really surprised that people don’t really understand where to talk into these microphones ’cause this is what you normally have in a radio studio.
Sometimes they are up the other way, and they’re like, so. But what you’re looking for, if you tug this down, there is often a logo at the top of the microphone, and that is where you wanna be speaking into. So you’re always talking into this part of the microphone, not like this unless it is an absolutely directional mic in that way. So you’re talking into it like this, good old king’s speech, if you watched The King’s Speech, he does this. It’s always good to have a good distance from it.
Now if you’re too close to the microphone, you are gonna lose the texture in your voice, and you’re gonna really go ‘th th th th th th’ as you do it. I worked with a presenter once, and she was really good vocally, and I couldn’t quite work out what it was that,.. Meaning that actually she sounded a little bit flat, and we realized she was just far too close to the mic. So if you come back, you’ll be able to get your vocal range and tone.
Obviously, if you need to shout, really lean back! And if you wanna go really intimate, you can actually go really close, but make sure you go quiet again.
Now the number one problem that people struggle with is popping of the mic which is when you get that sound ’cause there’s too much air coming out of your mouth and to the mic. And even with one of these lovely pop shields, you don’t always get the results that you want.
So one thing to do if you’re finding that you are popping loads, and you can’t control it, and it’s really annoying in your headphones, you can move away from the mic a bit ’cause that will stop the air rushing at the mic, but the one thing you could do is talk across it slightly, so that when your air is coming out of your mouth, it’s going straight across and not directly into the mic, and that will really help with reducing that popping.
And that’ll help if you’re doing podcasts with a little mic on the table, and you’re finding that you’re popping loads. Just move the airflow away from the mic slightly, but don’t turn your head away obviously because then you’ll just lose all the power of the sound of your voice.